Two of major Russian tour operators, Sunmar and Biblio Gloibus, announced about the reduction of commission for travel agents.
Biblio Globus has notified the travel agents about the reduction of commission close to New Year’s Eve. Last week “Sunmar” informed market participants that it changes the policy of agency commissions.
Previously travel agents could receive from Sunmar from a sold tour package up to 10-11%, and since January 23 the highest commission was reduced to 8%. The minimum size is now 6%, which is 1% less than the Biblio Globus’s one, who announced at the end of December about review of the conditions of cooperation with partners.
As for the Coral Travel, "everything remains as usually", Marina Makarkova Marina assured, the Head of the Public Relations Department of the tour operator.
But travel agents think that in the future, it will be easier for other tour operators to decide reducing the commission, since they have the precedent. Travel agents worry that over time, the size of the commission of the some tour operators will be so small, that tourists will not need to go directly to travel agents, since most of the tours can be bought online.
So, as agents think there are several steps, which can make travel agencies to survive on the changing market, like to work with those operators, who give a higher percentage. Another possibility is to earn on sales of certain individual services: tickets, hotels, transfers, excursions, ski passes, and so on… "Now it is 15 percent of total sales, but if these services are profitable we have to do it, even if it takes a lot of time", Tatyana Yurchenko, the General Director of the travel agency ABC of happiness, said.
Finally, theoretically the successful travel agents can become as a full-fledged tour operators, involved in the individual travels selling. Although it will have the extra costs – to enter in the register, to pay all fees, et cetera.
"We have all of it, and in the case of reduction of commissions, such activities will be developed", Lubov Pykova admits, CEO of travel agencies "Colors of the World".
The comment of Olga Mashkova (the tour agent): In my opinion, all of these tour operators’ dream about the online visitors, the biggest misconception, that will be revealed just in a couple of years. Personally I have had several clients, who tried to book tours by themselves. They played enough and returned to me. Arguments: a lot of time is spent to select the tour, especially it is critical for working persons. Online booking still is a lot of work, exclusively for budget tours. Such tour operators, who improve on-line communication with the travel agents, will win the game. Once it will become the time, when the tour operators will be covered by the rush of a large number of end customers, with their own ideas about the organization of their tours. In such conditions the tour operators will have to resume cooperation with the tour agents, but with increased commissions.